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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes

(August 26, 2001)

Slavery has long been eradicated. The Trail of Tears occurred more than a century ago. Prisoner camps for Japanese-Americans are a distant memory. Civil rights legislation of the 1960s did much to change bias that carried legal weight.

But while laws have changed, some hearts haven’t. Leading Assemblies of God officials say merely tolerating people who look different isn’t really what Jesus had in mind. On Intercultural Ministries Day, they remind the Fellowship that Christianity isn’t restricted to white conservative Americans.

"Shaking hands with people who are culturally different is not the same as embracing them in true friendship," says Stephen R. Tourville, director of Intercultural Ministries for the A/G. "The early church blossomed because of koinonia, or fellowship."

The Intercultural Ministries Department educates members of the Assemblies of God about the rapidly changing ethnic distinctions within the nation and within the church. The United States has changed markedly in the past decade, according to the Census Bureau. In 1990, whites comprised 73 percent of the population; now they represent only 67 percent. In the same span Hispanics grew to 12.5 percent from 9 percent of the population.

"We are not a monocultural nation anymore," says David J. Moore, commissioner of ethnic relations for the A/G. "The fact is this country is not a melting pot. It’s a mosaic that has retained distinctives."

Today, 28 percent of A/G congregations are considered ethnic minority or immigrant churches, compared to 19 percent a decade ago. Tourville is excited about the ethnic diversification of the United States.

"God is bringing people from around the world to America and it isn’t an accident," Tourville says. "God is giving the church of Jesus Christ the opportunity to share the gospel with many people who have come from countries where it has been blocked."

Sometimes non-geographical barriers remain in the United States. Tourville says many Caucasians fail to understand that those from other ethnic backgrounds often regard Christianity as a white religion. In the past, evangelical churches too often have had a paternalistic attitude in requiring conformity to worship styles, service times and modes of attire, Tourville and Moore say. Non-whites still may sense a more subtle form of discrimination.

"Inadvertently we have pushed our culture as well as our faith," Tourville says.

Non-whites tend to form their own congregations, Moore says, because they are only infrequently encouraged to integrate in white churches. "It’s one thing to say that we welcome ethnic minorities," Moore says. "It’s another thing to demonstrate it."

Tourville agrees that Christians need to move beyond awareness of other cultures to acceptance and inclusion. "We are willing to have people who are different from us attend church, but are they allowed to actually participate as leaders?" he asks.

Meanwhile, Tourville says Christians should evangelize those in their neighborhoods, even if there are ethnic differences.

"We want to help pastors and congregations to develop a sense of urgency in reaching culturally distinct groups with indigenous churches," Tourville says. "The best way to reach people is to go where they are. Jesus didn’t command the world to come to us."

– John W. Kennedy

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